Wednesday, May 7, 2014

movie review: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

When I wrote my review of The Amazing Spider-Man, my main complaint was that it felt like watching a rerun.  While there is still a "been there, done that" feel to the sequel, it is better than its predecessor. First the pros. The script had some good moments. Some big action sequences, although not as masterful as either The Dark Knight or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but not nearly as sloppy and overbearing as Man Of Steel.  The scenes with Electro are great visuals, with lightning bolts striking all over.  It confirms how great a Shazam movie could be. Actually, there is very little action in the first part of the movie, as it plays more like a teen drama, concentrating on the Peter-Gwen relationship.  Last time, I felt the humor fell flat, but this time Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone really get the humorus moments down, and director Mark Webb also includes a lot of inspired physical comedy. Webb introduces Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones), soon to be the Black Cat. The death of Gwen Stacy plays out well, altered slightly from the comic book source material.

The cons: the foreshadowing of Gwen's death is about as subtle as sledge hammer to the head.  From Gwen's graduation speech, to bits of dialogue by both Gwen and Peter, to the most outlandish, random shots of Gwen's dead father (played again by the lubberly Dennis Leary) as a ghostly image shaking his head at Peter.  Jamie Foxx's Max Dillon seems like the part was a cut and paste from the Edward Nygma role from the Batman Forever screenplay. One of my other gripes about the first movie was how they embellished the Parker parents, into making them more important to the Spidey origin than they traditionally were.  That continues in this movie, and those moments drag the movie down, most notably the lackluster opening sequence.  Thankfully this storyline seems to have been wrapped up in this movie.

Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn.  The advance reviews said he was the best part of the movie, giving a near Health Ledger performance.  Wrong.  He played the part rather mediocre, the most notable thing about his performance being that he looked like he just stepped out of a German nightclub in 1962. As the Green Goblin, he overacts. As with The Dark Knight focusing so much of the movie on Harvey Dent, only to shoehorn Two-Face's entire career into the last 10 minutes, this movie does the same with Harry, then shoves in the Green Goblin after you think the movie has ended.

Mary Jane Watson was to be introduced in this movie, but the role was cut at the last minute after the scenes were already filmed.  My guess is, the MJ scenes would have appeared after Gwen's funeral, in place of the montage of Peter at Gwen's grave through changing seasons in the final edit.

One of the most mystifying things in the movie is the mid-credits scene.  It's about the X-Men.  20th Century Fox is setting up an alternate Marvel cinematic universe grounded in their X-Men continuity to include the rebooted Fantastic Four.  Doe this scene mean they also cut a deal with Sony to include this Spidey franchise into the competing Marvel universe?

While this movie may be worth seeing in the theatres, at the end of the day, all three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies are still better.

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